Saturday, February 27, 2010

"Confucius says: flop"

A poster for "Confucius" looks down on a bus stop in Shanghai. The film, released as part of a New Year's tradition of celebrating Chinese nationalism, has been a commercial disappointment.

It was supposed to be the patriotic holiday hit. "Confucius," the government-backed bio-epic about the ancient philosopher, was tailor-made to stir national pride over Chinese New Year.

What they got instead was China's answer to "Ishtar" -- a box-office dud with the misfortune of having to compete against the Hollywood blockbuster "Avatar."

"Confucius says: flop" read a headline in the Shanghai Daily.

Even a historian who was invited to the film's prescreening to offer the project a shot of credibility gave the thumbs down, saying the movie was riddled with inaccuracies.

"It's been, in a sense, a loss of face," said Stan Rosen, a Chinese film expert at USC. "It really backfired."

China has a tradition of releasing high-budget, nationalistic films over major holidays, and "Confucius" was chosen to ring in the Year of the Tiger.

The movie marked a milestone of sorts for a philosopher whose teachings were reviled under Mao Tse-tung but are enjoying a rebirth in modern China. The nation's leaders have made Confucian principles of social harmony and respect for hierarchy a driving mantra now that communist dogma has lost its cachet.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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